Πταίης μοι κώνωψ, ταχὺς ἄγγελος, οὔασι δ’ ἄκροις
Ζηνοφίλας ψαύσας προσψιθύριζε τάδε·
“ἄγρυπνος μίμνει σε· σὺ δ’, ὦ λήθαργε φιλούντων,
εὕδεις.” εἶα, πέτευ· ναί, φιλόμουσε, πέτευ·
ἥσυχα δὲ φθέγξαι, μὴ καὶ σύγκοιτον ἐγείρας
κινήσῃς ἐπ’ ἐμοὶ ζηλοτύπους ὀδύνας.
ἢν δ’ ἀγάγῃς τὴν παῖδα, δορᾷ στέψω σε λέοντος,
κώνωψ, καὶ δώσω χειρὶ φέρειν ῥόπαλον.
(Meleager, Anth. Gr. 5.152)

Fly for me, mosquito: be my swift messenger. Alight on the rim of Zenophila’s ear and whisper this: “He is awake, and waits for you; but you forget those who love you, and sleep.” Up, fly! Yes, musical one, fly! But speak quietly, so you don’t wake the man who is sleeping with her and arouse in him pangs of jealousy against me. If you bring the girl, I will hood you with a lion’s pelt, mosquito, and give you a club to carry in your hand*.

* The mosquito would thus be attired like Heracles. While other instances of mosquitoes imitating Heracles are (not surprisingly) unknown, Love was sometimes depicted wearing a lion skin.

(tr. William Roger Paton, revised by Michael A. Tueller, with the latter’s note)

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